How to use Harvard Style in your work

Master Harvard Formatting Style without any stress

In this article Mcessay writers have collected all the peculiarities of one of the most popular and complicated formatting styles. It is easy to use and you won’t find it difficult to apply it in your text. Just go on reading and you will see how simple it is!

List of references

List of references is a list of the sources, which you have used during working on your assignment. Such list contains information on the source, including author’s name, publication date, title and much more. According to Harvard style, your list must:

  • Be situated on a separate paper, the last one in the assignment;
  • Be structured according to the alphabetical order. If the author is unknown, you should order it according to the source’s title not paying attention to ‘a’, ‘an’ or ‘the’. If you have used several works of the same author, you need to order them by date. If the works were published the same year, you need to add a letter after date (for example, a,b etc);
  • Have double spaces. Text lines should have a blank space in-between;
  • Provide references for all the in-text citations.

In-text citations

In-text references are those, which are included into the text and follow a quote or a paraphrase, which you take from a different source.

Such references are always situated in the body of your work. They are shorter than references from the reference list. According to Harvard guidelines, in-text references must consist of author’s or editor’s name, publication year and page number. If you need to cite, for example, Coelho, you will need to do it the following way:

Coelho (2011, p.70) states.. or (Coelho, 2011, p.70).

Keep in mind, if you need to indicate that the quote occupies several pages, you should write pp. instead of p.

Two-three authors

If you cite a source with two-three authors, their surnames should be mentioned the following way:

Adams, Johnson and Smith (2009, p. 45) states.. or (Adams, Johnson and Smith, 2009, p. 45)

Four+ authors

In such a case, surname of the first author should be followed with a ‘et al’:

Adams et al (2009, p. 45) states.. or (Adams at al,2009, p. 45)

Author’s name is unknown

If it is possible, you can indicate title of the responsible organization. If it is also not known, use italicized title instead:

Harvard citation, 2018, pp. 143-151)

Several works of one author with the same publication year

When you need to reference several works of the same author, which were released the same publication year, you need to allocate a certain letter after the year (for example, a, b, c). Such allocation is given in the list of references, so you need to organize it according to the alphabet, based on the surname and title of the source. For example,

(Adams, 2013a, p.149) or Adams (2013b, p.149)

Several works in the same parentheses

Simply list all the citations as you would normally do but put semicolons between the references:

( Adams, 2013, p.149; Jonson, p. 340; Williams, 1999, pp. 34-58)

Several editions of one work in the same parentheses

You need to include author’s name once and then follow it with necessary dates, separated with a semicolon:

Adams (2009;2014) claims.. or (Adams, 2009;2014)

A no-date reference

Just indicate that the date is unknown: (Adams, no date, p. 38)

Citing secondary sources

In such a case, you should state the first used reference and then add ‘cited in’ and information about the original source:

Adams, 1980 (cited in Jordan, 2011, p. 198) or (Adams, 1980, cited in Jordan, 2011, p. 198)

Citing other types of sources

  • In-text citations don’t change much when applied with various source types. If else is not indicated, you can use one of the rules, which are mentioned above;

Harvard Format for citing a book

Book is the simplest source type in Harvard formatting style and has quite easy-to-remember rules. They include:

  • Title must be italicized;
  • The first letter of title’s name must be capitalized. Then you must capitalize only proper nouns.

The common structure looks like this:

Author’s surname, initials. Year of publication. Title. Edition. Place of publication: publisher.

For example, Adams, A.M. and Williams, H.F. (2016) Citation guide. 2nd edn. Paris: Paris Publishings.

Citing an edited book

Edited sources are sources, which consist of chapters that are written by different authors. Reference format of such books is quite similar to those, which were not edited. The only difference is that you need to put editor’s name instead of the author’s. You need to write (eds.) to distinguish one from another:

Editor’s surname, initials. (eds.) (Publication year). Title. Edition. Publication place: publisher

For example, Williams M.M. (eds.) (2018) How to reference a book. London: We Publish

Citing a chapter of an edited book

When you need to cite chapters, you must add their authors and titles to your reference. Here is how it should look like:

Author’s name. (Year of publication). ‘Chapter title’ in editor’s surname, initials (eds)). Book title. Edition. Publication place: publisher, pages.

Remember, title of the chapter is not italicized and should be written in single quotation marks. For example:

Smith F.L. (2012) ‘Harvard formatting style’ in Adams, O.B. (ed) A full citation guide. London: My Publishing, pp. 34-67.

When you need to indicate a chapter in-text, use surname of the author, not of the editor.

Citing an electronic book

If you need to reference an electronic book, you will need such information as surname and initials of the author, collection, its online location, the date you accessed the book and of course source’s title and edition. Format of such reference will be as follows:

Surname of the author, initials. (Publication year). Title. Edition. E-book’s collection name [online]. Available at: DOI or URL (Accessed d/m/y)

Remember, name of the collection is also italicized and follows with [online]. In the end of the reference you need to indicate the date, when you accessed the source. If you access the book using an electronic book reader, the format is a bit different:

Surname of the author, initials. (Publication year). Title. Edition. Format of the e-book[reader]. Available at: DOI or URL (Accessed d/m/y)

Such reference will include data on the format of the book and the reader you are using. For example, PocketBook e-book [e-book reader]

Example of such a reference:

Stephens, J.M., Seagull, B. and Adams, P.O. (2017) A citation guide. Library of e-books [online]. Available at (Accessed: 29 October 2018)

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Citing journal articles

When citing a journal article, you need to remember that its title should be placed into single quotation marks. The title of the journal is italicized and the first letter of every word is capitalized. Volume number should be written after the title and be followed with the season number.

Author’s name, (year). ‘Article title’, Title, volume (issue, season), numbers of pages. For example.

Adams, O.L. ‘How Harvard citation changed the academic world’, The Post, 89(4), p. 45-59

Example of an online journal article is slightly different:

Adams, O.L. ‘How Harvard citation changed the academic world’, The Post, 89(4) [online]. Available at: (accessed: 4 June 2017)

Citing newspaper articles

Such references are quite similar to those of a journal but instead of the volume and the issue numbers, you need to indicate the publication date and edition:

Surname of the author, initials. (Year). ‘Title of the article’, Title of the Newspaper(edition), d/m, page number

For example, Smith, E.P. (2015) ‘Latest changes to Harvard citation requirements’, The Post (Weekly edition), 19 December, pp. 14-18.

Citing newspaper articles or online journals

If you need to cite a newspaper article or an online journal, the section with page numbers of the printed journal or reference is changed with a DOI or URL. Don’t forget to include the date, when the source was accessed. The structure will be as follows:

Surname of the author, initials. ‘Article title’, Journal title, volume (season/issue) [online]. Available at: DOI or URL (Accessed: d/m/y)

A reference for an online version of a newspaper article will be the following:

Surname of the author, initials. (Year) ‘Article title’, Newspaper title (edition), day and month [online]. Available at: DOI or URL (Accessed: d/m/y)

Citing non-printed materials

Citing a photograph

When you need to reference an online photograph, you need to stick to the following format:

Surname, initials of the author. (Publication year) Photograph title [online]. Available at: URL (Accessed: d/m/y)

For example: Myles, H.K. (2007) My band [online]. Available at: (Accessed: 17 May 2017)

Citing a movie

When you cite a film, you need to write director’s name first and then the surname. You can either use the full name or initials. Format is the section, which contains the format type of the movie. For example, DVD. A common structure of a film reference is as follows:

Film title (Distribution year) Directed by name [format]. Distribution place: Distribution Company

For example, A Star is born (2018) Directed by Bradley Cooper [Film]. Los Angeles: Warner Bros.

Citing a TV program

‘Title of an episode’ (Transmission year) TV show title, Series number, episode number. Channel streaming service, d/m of transmission.

For example:

‘The game plan’ (2016) This is us, Series 5, episode 5. NBC, 25 October 2016

Citing music

Artist’s name (Publication year), Album title [format] Distribution place: distribution company. Available at: (Accessed: d/m/y)

For example, Halsey(2015) Badlands [Visual Album] New York: Astralwerks. Available at: (Accessed: 14 March 2018)

Citing a website

When you need to reference a website, you should stick to the following structure:

Surname of the author, initials. (Publishing year) Page/site title [online]. Available at: URL (Accessed: d/m/y)

For example, Adams S.K. (2018) How to reference with ease [online]. Available at: https://www. (Accessed: 17 September 2016)

Harvard formatting style may not be the simplest to master but it will surely give you much freedom and will greatly contribute to the overall grade for your assignment. Just print our tips out and always have them nearby to format any source type without any difficulties. If you have any questions left, don’t hesitate to contact us!